Law does not allow for abrupt removal: experts

‘CVC has no role in curtailing tenure of CBI Director’
The Supreme Court has to examine whether the government and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) can unilaterally remove the CBI Director on the assumption that the move will restore public faith in the country’s premier investigative agency. The CVC and the government both agree they have the power to divest Alok Verma of his office to save the credibility of the institution. They quote from the Central Vigilance Commission Act and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act to show they can exercise “superintendence and control” over the agency. They say their decision was taken in an “extraordinary and unprecedented” situation. For this, the government and the CVC bank on Section 4(1) of the DSPE Act, which allows the commission to supervise investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The DSPE Act gives the Centre the power of superintendence over the CBI “in all other matters.” Section 4(1) is again echoed in Section 8 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act. These provisions allow the commission to exercise superintendence over the CBI and give directions in relation to the investigation of corruption cases. But the moot point is whether these provisions allow the government and the commission to strip the CBI Director of his job. In this regard, legal experts refer to Section 4B(2) of the DSPE Act, which mandates that the CBI Director cannot be “transferred” without the previous consent of a high-power committee chaired by the Prime Minister. Firstly, they argue, the CBI Director is appointed on the recommendation of this committee which has the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India as members. Relieving the CBI chief of his post would, as a natural corollary, require taking the consent of this committee. Experts further point to Section 4C of the DSPE Act. This provision clearly says that the CVC has no role, whatsoever, in curtailing or extending the tenure of the CBI Director. They argue that a committee led by the Central Vigilance Commissioner may have authority over the tenure of the Special CBI Director, but not the CBI Director.
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